China’s parliament has proposed introducing a brand new safety legislation in Hong Kong, a transfer anticipated to fan recent protests within the semi-autonomous monetary hub.
The proposal, which has been condemned by the United States and Hong Kong pro-democracy figures as an assault on the town’s freedoms, was submitted for deliberation on Friday.
“Why has China moved to impose the law?”
Article 23 of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, often known as the Basic Law, says the town should enact nationwide safety laws to ban “treason, secession, sedition (and) subversion” in opposition to the Chinese authorities.
Hong Kong has been making an attempt to introduce a legislation for years however pro-democracy demonstrations that paralysed the town final yr have pushed the problem up the agenda and galvanised Beijing.
Last month, Beijing’s prime official in Hong Kong, Liaison Office director Luo Huining, mentioned the town urgently wanted a brand new nationwide safety legislation to fight violent protesters and independence advocates.
On Friday Wang Chen, vice chairman of the National People’s Congress’s (NPC) Standing Committee, its precise law-making organ, warned “powerful measures” have been wanted to curb the town’s pro-democracy motion.
“How do people in Hong Kong feel about it?”
Article 23 has by no means been carried out because of public fears it could curtail Hong Kong’s cherished rights, corresponding to freedom of expression and the press.
Those liberties are unseen on the mainland and are protected by an settlement made earlier than Britain handed Hong Kong again to China in 1997.
An try to enact the clause in 2003 was shelved after half one million folks took to the streets in protest in opposition to it. Then safety chief Regina Ip needed to resign following the failure.
China’s transfer would authorise its lawmakers to avoid Hong Kong’s legislature and straight enact the laws at a future date.
“What will happen next?”
China’s legislature is anticipated to rubber-stamp the draft decision on Thursday, the final day of the annual parliamentary gathering, earlier than the main points are fleshed out subsequent month at one other assembly of the NPC’s Standing Committee.
Wang mentioned the legislation would then be carried out domestically, an unprecedented transfer that would spark an extra wave of protests.
In an announcement Friday, Hong Kong’s chief Carrie Lam vowed to “fully cooperate” with Beijing over the legislation.
The Hong Kong authorities will “complete the legislation as soon as possible to discharge its responsibility of safeguarding national security,” mentioned Lam, who’s attending the NPC.
Jimmy Sham, chief of the Civil Human Rights Front, which organised the million-person rally that kicked off final yr’s unrest, appealed Friday for tens of millions to return out on the streets as soon as once more.
“What does this mean for ‘One country, Two systems’?”
Pro-democracy lawmakers have mentioned the laws marks the tip of ‘One nation, Two techniques’ – a reference to the handover settlement that has given Hong Kong a restricted type of autonomy since getting back from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
Even earlier than the proposed safety legislation, there have been fears that Beijing was steadily eroding these freedoms.
“This is the end of Hong Kong, this is the end of One Country, Two Systems, make no mistake about it,” mentioned Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok.
“They (Beijing) are now completely walking back on their obligation owed to the Hong Kong people.”
Amnesty International warned the laws posed “a quasi-existential threat to the rule of law in Hong Kong”.
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